Policing Neoliberalism

September 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

This is an image from an article in Al Jazeera on the protests in Greece to austerity measures imposed by the government in order to secure EU/IMF loans and remain within the European Union.

This is often how neoliberalism is experienced in countries undergoing economic reform: as a decrease of social programs and employment but an increase in police force and presence.

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China, SEZs, and Political Integration

September 28, 2011 § 2 Comments

In Aihwa Ong’s “Zoning Technologies in East Asia,” she explains that through China’s creation of new spaces for economic growth, or the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), it has been successful in rezoning certain regions economically using a Neoliberal model while at the same time circumventing political issues. By granting special rights and privileges to these regions, China has effectively created a system in which political control remains in the hands of Chinese bureaucrats in Beijing while the business practices of these regions are left to the local bureaucrats and businessmen.

Ong also argues that through their SEZ and SAR (Special Administrative Region) policies, China boosts its own security and sovereignty by controlling regions politically while leaving economic policies alone. China also helps connect traditionally politically divided regions with each other by creating economic networks. In this sense, China remaps its regions through a gradual process, in which they eventually seek to integrate these SEZ politically with mainland China.

Do you think that this is an effective policy in gradually suppressing uprisings and antagonism that is usually associated with Neoliberalism, and its reinstating of class power ?

Some related media:

An article about North Korea’s plan to have an SEZ of its own:

Aljazeera.net

What sort of relation does this have with security in Asia from China’s point of view?

A video explaining some aspects that Harvey covered in “Neoliberalism with Chinese Characteristics” and in Aihwa Ong’s “Zoning Technologies in East Asia” :

Bamboo Capitalism And The Environment

September 26, 2011 § 3 Comments

Neoliberalism ‘with Chinese Characteristics’ by David Harvey focuses on the development of Neoliberal practices in China promoted by Deng Xiaoping. Harvey argues that the rise of capitalist economy and market liberalization in China was marked by a high degree of state intervention, regulation, and planning in the forms of SOEs, TVEs, and SEZs; that in turn have lead to the emergence of class power, increased social inequality, and environmental pollution.

The video below highlights the cost of China’s economic growth to the environment. It touches on China’s compressed timeframe of industrial evolution on a larger pollution scale and the CCP’s policy towards Green G.D.P.

The Environment Cost of China’s Growth By The New York Times

 

Bamboo Capitalism -An article about China’s economic growth concerning state directed liberalization vs. anarchic opportunism.

Is state directed market liberalization really the answer for economic growth instead of the failing Western neoliberal capitalism as some would suggest? What are the environmental impacts and how does that play out within the international community?



The Neoliberal State

September 19, 2011 § 5 Comments

In David Harvey’s “The Neoliberal State,” we are introduced to the concept of neoliberalism, its objectives and also problems that are associated with it. The ideal form of neoliberalism entails global free markets, little to no regulations, minimal state intervention, privatization of just about everything, and intense competition. In this every man for himself philosophy, free competition between peoples, corporations and states is what the global system needs to function at its highest efficiency. Nationalism is what ultimately inhibits pure neoliberalism from being practiced. States always want to protect certain industries/sectors for national interest, as well as other interests ( such as president Bush preaching free markets and free trade yet imposing a tariff on steel to win votes in the important electoral state of Ohio).

If neoliberalism was actually able to manifest itself in its purest form on a global level, would the world be better off?

Below is a video of Subcomandante Marcos, the spokesman for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation movement, giving his take on Neoliberalism and its problems.

Frantz Fanon: The Fact of Blackness

September 12, 2011 § 8 Comments

In Frantz Fanon’s The Fact of Blackness, the fifth chapter in his book Black Skin, White Masks, he is speaking about the racial prejudice of his time and how that prejudice is responsible for shaping the image for a black man. Reading this article as a person of the 21st century, I was struck by how full of hate he seemed but when putting it in a historical perspective, the pain and anguish from which he is writing is apparent. In his article he describes his outrage that he, himself has nothing to with the way the world sees him. They see him only as being a Negro and then, they might consider him for his mind and his talents. It was maddening to him to be faced with such unreason.

Blood Diamonds in Sierra Leone

September 8, 2011 § 2 Comments

Watch this video on the diamond trade in Sierra Leone, a small, poor country in West Africa.

In his essay “Africa in a Capitalist World,” Immanuel Wallerstein argues that societies in Africa, and particularly West Africa have been in interaction with Europe for hundreds of years, but that it is only after around 1750 or so that they come to occupy what he calls a “peripheral” position within the European-dominated world-capitalist-system.

What does Africa’s position at the “periphery” of the world-capitalist-system, as opposed to Europe and America’s position at the “core” of this same system, tell you about the politics of “blood diamonds” in Sierra Leone?

How might Wallerstein explain the continued presence of European mining companies like De Beers in Sierre Leone even after this African country de-colonized and gained its independence from its former colonial rulers?

Below is a map of Wallerstein’s tripartite classification of core, semi-periphery and periphery regions of the world:

 

 

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